Ever get the feeling that sugar is controlling your brain? Studies show the more sugar we eat, the more our bodies crave it because of the happy feelings it triggers in the brain—which is why it sometimes seems impossible to say no to sweets. But research also tells us that a diet high in sugar is harmful to our health and increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and countless other health problems. Here are five simple tips to help curb sugar cravings throughout the day:
- Stay Satisfied with Protein. Studies show consuming plenty of protein throughout the day—and especially at breakfast—promotes healthy blood sugar levels and helps reduce the desire to eat sweets, especially during the late afternoon danger zone.
- Say No to Sugary Drinks & Diet Sodas. The added sugar in soft drinks, juices, flavored teas, and sports drinks are among the biggest sources of sugar in the American diet, but eliminating them can go a long way toward kicking the habit. And because new research shows artificial sweeteners are just as harmful to the body, experts recommend sticking with purified (filtered) water or sparkling water.
- Try a Piece of Fruit Instead. The natural sugars in fruit are a better alternative to the processed sugars found in pastries, cookies, cakes, and other packaged sweets. Opt for low-sugar fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, watermelon, and grapefruit, and combine with plain Greek yogurt or a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
- Get Moving! Sometimes the simplest way to put a stop to sugar cravings is to get up and get active so your brain focuses on something else. Grab the dog and head outdoors for a walk, get the laundry or other household chores done, or take a brisk stroll around the office if you’re at work. Remember to drink plenty of purified water daily to support healthy metabolism.
- Don’t Forget the Fiber. When included as part of a balanced diet, fiber has been shown to support weight management because of its natural appetite-suppressing properties.‡ Eating more non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits is one of the best ways to increase your daily fiber intake.
Why worry about the sweet stuff? Americans consume at least 37 teaspoons of sugar daily (including the hidden sugars from starchy carbohydrates)—which is far more than the amount recommended by experts the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association, among others. By taking small steps to curb sugar cravings and reduce our daily intake, we are doing our part to ensure a healthier future for our generation and the next.